Tag Archives: new year

2014 Round Up Top Five Posts

Looking back on 2014, I am happy of all the things I accomplished in my art life, but cooking took a backseat this time….  I won’t lie, most popular posts were from previous years! Number one was Creamy Pesto Sauce from 2013 for some reason in April of this year:

creamy pesto ravioli2

It is a really good recipe, I have to say — check it out!

The top posts of this year were Adventures with Jello — also in April (am I sensing a trend here?):

flubber jello

Check out my Flubber Jello!

California Dreamin’ — our recent trip to California and my mom’s yummy Migas!

With refried beans, crema, and chopped scallions

With refried beans, crema, and chopped scallions

And Tex Mex Scramble (another fav I always cook) and my illustrated recipe of it for They Draw and Cook:

tofu2

Click to view larger

Click to view larger

And last but not least — another easy weeknight meal: Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions and Mini Pizzas!

pizza 2

Hope everyone has a wonderful, exciting, prosperous 2015!!!  See you next year! 🙂

2015 copy

17 Comments

Filed under Art Related, Dinner, Eggs, Pasta, Vegetarian

Shirataki Noodles and Soba Noodles

Shirataki Noodle Ramen

Shirataki Noodle Ramen

I made this comforting soup for lunch the other day.  I wasn’t even going to post it, because it involves packages of instant ramen noodles.  lol.  I grew up eating instant ramen (one of my dad’s specialties), and Jamie loves it too.  The sodium content is pretty outrageous, so I usually only use part of the seasoning packet in the soup.  It can also end up being a lot of calories — one package of noodles is supposed to be two servings.  It’s so easy to eat the whole thing as one serving.  I usually use 1 1/2 packages for Jamie and Denis.

I also like to use Shirataki noodles instead of eating the ramen noodles.  For the uninitiated, shirataki noodles are gluten free, low carb, chewy noodles made from a Japanese yam and are mostly water and fiber — hence the low carb value attributed to them.

Shirataki noodles

Shirataki noodles

I grew up eating them in Asian dishes and have always liked them.  But in the past five years or so, I’ve seen them touted by Hungry Girl and used in Western dishes, like fettucine alfredo.  This personally makes me gag.  The texture is so wrong.  These noodles are nothing like pasta.  People also complain about the fishy order that wafts out of the package when you open it.  You have to rinse the noodles and boil them.  I still feel that the slightly fishy, earthy odor remains, but in Asian dishes, like ramen, this is no problem.  It suits it.  So when I make ramen for the boys, I make shirataki for myself, and we share the broth.  I also like to add cooked egg, chopped scallions, and some kind of protein like cooked shrimp or chicken to it.

Another simple noodle dish is Tempura Soba.   It’s a Japanese tradition (which I did not grow up celebrating) to eat plain soba noodle soup right before midnight. I did this once in Japan before going to the temple and ringing the gong. I made it for our dinner tonight and added tempura shrimp for some protein. Recently I learned that buckwheat noodles are gluten free!  So that is good news for my niece and nephew and others who are gluten intolerant.  If your make your tempura batter with rice flour, then the tempura shrimp could also be made gluten free. 🙂

Shrimp tempura

Shrimp tempura

We’re looking forward to ringing in the new year tonight!  2013 had its extreme ups and downs — let’s hope 2014 is a more stable good one.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Soba with Shrimp Tempura

Soba with Shrimp Tempura

Shirataki ramen

Shirataki ramen

Shirataki Noodle Ramen

1 package of shirataki noodles

an egg, beaten

1 1/2 packages of instant ramen (the kind that come in a block)

Cooked meat (chopped ham, shrimp, pork, chicken, etc.)

scallions for garnish

shichimi togarashi (Japanese chili pepper) optional for garnish

1.  Cook shirataki noodles according the package instructions.  Drain and set aside.

2.  Cook beaten egg in a skillet.  Remove and chop up; set aside.

3.  Cook ramen according to package instructions (you may choose to not use all of the seasoning packet as I do).  Or if you are just eating the shirataki noodles and not using the ramen noodles, don’t bother cooking.

4.  Place desired amount of shirataki noodles in a large bowl.  Top with cooked egg, and cooked meat.  Ladle ramen broth into bowl.  Garnish with scallions and Shichimi Togarashi.

soba-with-shrimp-tempura

Shrimp Tempura Soba Noodles

1/2 pound dried soba (buckwheat) noodles

Oil for coating noodles and for frying

8 cups water

about 4 inches or .5 oz. of dried kombu (kelp — this is found in some Asian markets)

1 cup  or 10-15 g dried bonito flakes

1/3 cup soy sauce

2  tablespoons mirin

1  tablespoons sugar

1 cup tempura flour (you can use flour + 1/4 teaspoon each baking soda and baking powder if you don’t have tempura flour)

1 cup ice water or seltzer (with ice cubes)

12-15 large shrimp, deveined

scallions sliced thinly for garnish

Other garnish ideas:  sliced boiled egg, sliced fish cake, cooked spinach

1.  Boil water in a large pot, and cook dried soba noodles in it for about 4 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Coat with a bit of oil and set aside.

2.  Fill pot with 8 cups of water.  Add kombu.  Turn up heat.  Right before it comes to a rolling boil, remove kombu and discard.  Add bonito flakes and boil for about 30 seconds.  Turn off heat.  Let broth sit until flakes settle to bottom of pot.  Strain liquid into a clean pot, pressing on bonito flakes to get as much flavorful broth as possible.

3.  Heat broth over low heat.  Add soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.  Bring to a boil and dissolve sugar.  Set aside but keep hot.

4.  Heat about 1 inch of oil in a wok or saucepan to about 340 F.  Mix tempura flour with ice water.  Do not over mix — it’s OK if it’s lumpy.  Keep the ice cubes in the batter.  Dip shrimp in batter to coat and fry in hot oil until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes.  Remove to a rack placed over a baking sheet to drain.  Continue to cook rest of shrimp this way, being careful not to overcrowd them in the oil.

5.  To assemble, add cooked soba to a bowl, pour broth over.  Garnish with shrimp tempura and scallions.

13 Comments

Filed under Eggs, Gluten Free, Shrimp, Soup

Broccoli Sweet Potato Soup and 2012 in Review

soup

Happy 2013 Everyone!

Have you all made your New Year’s resolutions?

I have to say, I have not.  I find that the label, “New Year’s Resolution”, carries too much weight, fraught with emotional baggage–my own craziness.  So my work around is to make goals at other times of the year. 🙂

One art related goal I made back in November is to draw from life every day.  I bought a beautiful Moleskin sketchbook which I LOVE because it’s small and easy to carry everywhere.   It’s really hard to draw in public without anyone noticing.  Hopefully I’m getting better at it.  Here are some samples:

Tim Horton's

Tim Horton’s

Easier to draw strangers when they aren't looking at me!

Starbucks.  It’s easier to draw strangers when they aren’t facing at me!

Jamie on Denis' phone

Jamie on Denis’ phone

In flight

In flight

j an d d

A lot of people make health oriented goals at New Year’s.  I guess the combination of holiday indulgences and pants getting more snug (I’m guilty of this as well!) and the promise of a new year — a clean slate– is part of the appeal.  With the frigid winter temperatures outside, a hot bowl of soup is a great remedy for the winter chill as well as the tighter waistbands!

soup close

We’ve been enjoying this nutrient dense, filling, and comforting Broccoli Sweet Potato Soup recently.  I’m happy to say that even my 8-year old loves this one so much, I don’t have to “hide” what’s in it!  It’s so easy to make too if you have a good blender.  See recipe at end of post. Served with cheese toast or a salad, it makes a delicious, comforting, healthy, guilt-free, New Year’s Resolutions compliant lunch!

Thanks to you all for making 2012 such a great year for this blog!  Followers and views doubled from 2011!  The most popular post of 2012 was Monthly Lego Build and Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Secret Ingredient, one of my favorites. Check it out!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 78,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

soup

Broccoli Sweet Potato Soup

Two small heads of broccoli florets chopped, or about 4 cups chopped broccoli

One small sweet potato

1 3/4 cups to 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Steam broccoli in steamer on stove for about 8 -10 minutes.  Alternatively, steam broccoli in a bowl covered with saran in microwave until cooked, about 4-5 minutes, depending on microwave

2.  Prick holes in sweet potato and cook in microwave for 4 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, peel and remove flesh.

3.  Place broccoli, sweet potato, and broth in blender and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add more broth and reheat if you want a thinner consistency.

18 Comments

Filed under Art Related, Lunch, Soup, Soup, Vegetables